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Milton Friedman -- and His Misjudgment on China

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发表于 11-5-2020 16:26:32 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

William McGurn, The Man Who Made Milton Friedman a Star. The 1980 PBS series 'Free to Choose' helped make capitalism popular. Can marketmake a comeback in the era of AOC? Wall Street Journal, Oct 31, 2020, at page A11 (under the heading "Weekend Interview with Bob Chitester" in the column "Weekend Interview").
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the ... -a-star-11604073953

Note:
(a) "Friedman, who died in 2006, had already won the 1976 Nobel Prize for economics. * * * Their collaboration [between Friedman and Bob Chitester] began in 1977, when the two men were introduced by W Allen Wallis, a free-market economist who served as chancellor of New York's University of Rochester and chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. * * * After PBS released (in 1977) 'The Age of Uncertainty,' presented by the left-liberal economist John Kenneth Gailbraith, Mr Chitester wanted to produce a rejoinder from a classically liberal perspective. * * * Mr Chitester * * * went to meet Milton and his wife, fellow economist and collaborator, Rose, at their San Francisco apartment."
(i) Milton Friedman
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Friedman
(1912 (Brooklyn) – 2006 (died at 94 in San Francisco); bachelor's from Rutgers University in 1932, master's from Chicago in 1933 and PhD from Columbia in 1946, all in economics)

Quote: "In 1977, at the age of 65, Friedman retired from the University of Chicago after teaching there for 30 years. He and his wife moved to San Francisco, where he became a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. From 1977 on, he was affiliated with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. During the same year, Friedman was approached by the Free To Choose Network and asked to create a television program presenting his economic and social philosophy.  The Friedmans worked on this project for the next three years, and during 1980, the ten-part series, titled Free to Choose, was broadcast by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The companion book to the series (co-authored by Milton and his wife, Rose Friedman), also titled Free To Choose, was the bestselling nonfiction book of 1980

Milton married Rose Director (that is her maiden name; two years his senior, born in 1910; a PhD in economics from University of Chicago). See
Rose Friedman, Distinguished Economist, dies. University of Chicago News, Aug 18, 2009
https://news.uchicago.edu/story/ ... shed-economist-dies
("She was born in a small Russian village in what is now part of Ukraine. Her birth records are lost, but she believed she had been born during December 1910. When she was an infant, her mother took her children and left for America, settling in Portland, Ore, where her father had already moved to escape threats against his life arising from anti-Semitism [her parents were Jewish]. They left just before that part of the countryside was devastated during World War I.  She attended Reed College [private; in Portland, Oregon] and then transferred to the University of Chicago, where she received a Bachelor of Philosophy degree. She continued her training in economics at the University of Chicago, completing all work for a PhD. except for writing a thesis.  Rose Director met Milton Friedman in 1932, when the two were seated next to each other in alphabetical order [she was D and he, F] as graduate students at the University of Chicago")
(ii) W Allen Wallis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Allen_Wallis
(1912 – 1998; W for Wilson; "He became president of the University of Rochester in 1962, a position he held until 1970, when he became the University of Rochester's chancellor and chief executive. In 1975, he relinquished the job of chief executive, but remained chancellor of the university until his retirement in 1982")
did not have a PhD or master's degree in economics.

(A) University of Rochester is private and started out as a seminary. Nowhere in the Web, including the website of University of Rochester, explains what the University created the position of chancellor for Wallis, in particular Wallis was president of the University 1962-1975. President has been the highest position in that university before and after Wallis.
(B) The English surname Wallis is from "Anglo-Norman French waleis Welsh." Dictionary of American Family Names, by Oxford University Press.

Compare Welsh (n & adj; etymology)
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/welsh
(C) Obituary for W Allen Wallis; Former university president and noted economist dies. W Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economics, University of Rochester, Oct 12, 1998
https://www.wallis.rochester.edu/about/wallis-obituary.html
("Born in 1912 in Philadelphia, Mr Wallis received his bachelor's degree in psychology magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota in 1932. He did graduate work at Minnesota in economics, then in 1933 received a University Fellowship in economics at the University of Chicago, where he formed lifelong friendships with future Nobel laureates Milton Friedman and George Stigler. More than 40 years later, Mr. Wallis, who was then chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, would introduce a television producer to Friedman, leading to the production of Friedman's PBS series Free to Choose. * * * Mr Wallis was in Chicago [as dean of University of Chicago Graduate School of Business] when he accepted the post of president of the University of Rochester. In 1970, Mr Wallis was named chancellor, the only time in this century that the position has existed at the University")

University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (GSB) is now called Booth School of Business (In 2008 GSB alumnus David G Booth gave the school a gift valued at $300 million), which offers MBA, AM and PhD. In contrast, MIT Sloan School of Management has undergraduates and offers bachelor's also, besides graduate degrees.
(iii) Corporation for Public Broadcasting
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation_for_Public_Broadcasting   
("(CPB) is an American non-profit corporation created in 1967 by an act of the United States Congress; includes Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), a network of public-radio station; section 2 Funding of and by the corporation; section 3 Board composition)
(iv)
(A) Galbraith
https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/galbraith
(pronunciation)
(B) The Scottish surname Galbraith means a Briton living in Scotland, "from Gaelic gall stranger + Breathnach Briton (ie [together meaning] 'British foreigner')
(C) Galbraith was a Keynesian, believing in government intervention -- opposite of Milton Friedman.

(b) " 'Bob, don't worry about it,' Friedman reassured him. 'Businessmen don't like me anyway.' The economist elaborated. 'He said private owners—those who own their companies—they will be sympathetic. But corporations and publicly held companies will play the political game.' In other words, they'd be shy about supporting such a mission lest it hurt them when seeking government funding. * * * Mr Chitester says his 'absolute favourite' moment in the series is at the end of episode five, 'Created Equal.' Friedman is at Monticello, talking about the challenge of judging Thomas Jefferson"
(i) Corporation
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/corporation.asp   
("A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners. * * * An important element of a corporation is limited liability, which means that shareholders may take part in the profits through dividends and stock appreciation but are not personally liable for the company's debts. * * * A corporation is created when it is incorporated [in a state of United States] * * * A corporation's goals can be for-profit or not, as with charities. * * * A corporation can have a single shareholder or several")
Is distinguished with Corp or Inc (which are stylistic and make no difference between the two) at the end of the company name. A corporation may be public or private.
(ii) public company
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_company   
(also known as publicly held company; distinguished from state-owned enterprise)

is opposite of private company
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/privatecompany.asp
("Private companies may [but do not have to] issue stock and have shareholders, but their shares do not trade on public exchanges and are not issued through an initial public offering (IPO). * * * In general, the shares of these businesses are less liquid [but can still be traded -- just not in a stock exchange], and their valuations are more difficult to determine. * * * The high costs of an IPO is one reason companies choose to stay private")
(iii) "Mr Chitester says his 'absolute favourite' moment in the series is at the end of episode five, 'Created Equal.' Friedman is at Monticello, talking about the challenge of judging Thomas Jefferson"
(A) "Friedman is at Monticello"

Either the verb should be in the past tense "was" or Chitester is talking about the event as if it were happening before his eyes.  
(iv)
(A) Monticello
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monticello
(pronunciation; "Situated on the summit of an 850-foot (260 m)-high peak in the Southwest Mountains [name of the mountains] * * * the name Monticello derives from Italian meaning 'little mountain' ")
(B) Italian-English dictionary:
* monticello (noun masculinel From Late Latin monticellus, diminutive of Latin [noun masculine] mons [mountain])
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/monticello

(c) "Friedman was quick on his feet"
(i) be quick on your feet: "(phrase) to be able to walk or run fast"
https://www.macmillandictionary. ... -quick-on-your-feet
(ii) quick on one's feet: "(idiomatic) sharp-witted"
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/quick_on_one%27s_feet

is similar in meaning to
think on your feet
https://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/38/messages/1875.html

(d) "He [Chitester] founded the Free to Choose Network [in 1985 and based in Erie, Pennsylvania], a public foundation that produces public television shows and series—and on whose web site you can still watch 'Free to Choose.' * * * And he launched The Idea Channel, a video library of more than 200 recorded intellectual discussions with leading intellectuals including Nobel laureates such as Friedrich Hayek and James Buchanan (Economics), Charles Towns (Physics) and agronomist Norman Borlaug [[in Mexico he developed semi-dwarf, high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties] (Peace), father of the Green Revolution."
(i) series (n; plural series)
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/series
(ii) Friedrich Hayek
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek
("shared the 1974 Nobel * * * born in Vienna * * * he spent some time researching his ancestors and found out that he has no Jewish ancestors within five generations. The surname Hayek uses the German spelling of the Czech surname Hájek")

The Czech surname Hájek is an "occupational name for a woodman or topographic name for someone who lived by a thicket or grove, from Czech hájek thicket [or grove]." Dictionary of American Family Names.
(iii) James M Buchanan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_M._Buchanan   
(1919 – 2013; American; Nobel in 1986)
(iv) Charles H Townes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_H._Townes  
(1915 – 2015; American; shared the 1964 Nobel)
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 楼主| 发表于 11-5-2020 16:27:08 | 显示全部楼层
---------------------text
In the era of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, champions of the free-market capitalism may feel beleaguered. Those of a certain age thought they’d won the argument against socialism along with the Cold War. Bob Chitester, a veteran of the earlier struggle, offers some perspective on its outcome.

Mr. Chitester is the man who made Milton Friedman a star. Friedman, who died in 2006, had already won the 1976 Nobel Prize for economics. But a balding, 5-foot-3 University of Chicago professor was an unlikely candidate for television celebrity. Even when he agreed to film the series that became “Free to Choose,” he thought of it only as a way to sell books.

But Mr. Chitester, 83, says television has its own power, and Friedman was a natural at using it. “It wasn’t so much that he was attracted to TV,” Mr. Chitester says. “He was attracted to people. And what he began to see was that TV had the potential to reach a lot of people.”

Their collaboration began in 1977, when the two men were introduced by W. Allen Wallis, a free-market economist who served as chancellor of New York’s University of Rochester and chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. At the time Mr. Chitester managed public TV and radio stations  and radio stations in Erie, Pa. After PBS released “The Age of Uncertainty,” presented by the left-liberal economist John Kenneth Gailbraith, Mr. Chitester wanted to produce a rejoinder from a classically liberal perspective.

Mr. Chitester was probably the only PBS or NPR station supervisor who didn’t believe public radio and television should receive subsidies from American taxpayers. But he had a skill in short supply among the pro-capitalist intellectual class: He knew how to popularize free-market ideas, which many thought couldn’t be done on television.

He confesses that he isn’t sure he’d even heard of Friedman when Wallis put the two in touch. But Mr. Chitester says he devoured Friedman’s 1962 book, “Capitalism and Freedom,” and went to meet Milton and his wife, fellow economist and collaborator, Rose, at their San Francisco apartment.

An hour into the conversation, Mr. Chitester brought up a section in the book where Friedman talks about the responsibility of business—also the theme of Friedman’s famous 1970 New York Times essay, “The Social Accountability of Enterprise Is to Enhance Its Profits.” Mr. Chitester described his dilemma: “I said to Milton, based on your philosophy, I shouldn’t be asking companies for money, and if they take your advice, they’re not going to give me any.”

“Bob, don’t worry about it,” Friedman reassured him. “Businessmen don’t like me anyway.” The economist elaborated. “He said private owners—those who own their companies—they will be sympathetic. But corporations and publicly held companies will play the political game.” In other words, they’d be shy about supporting such a mission lest it hurt them when seeking government funding.

The series premiered in January 1980, that includes 10 hourlong episodes with titles such as “Who Protects the Workers” to “Learn how to Cure Inflation.” Viewers were fascinated by this professor who explained capitalism in down-to-earth terms and showed how its principles relate to ordinary life.

Mr. Chitester says his “absolute favourite” moment in the series is at the end of episode five, “Created Equal.” Friedman is at Monticello, talking about the challenge of judging Thomas Jefferson, a man who wrote one of history’s greatest documents for liberty even as he owned slaves.

“Milton concluded the episode with the following quote: The society that puts equality before freedom will get little of either. The society that puts freedom before equality will get a great measure of both.”

“Free to Choose” drew an average three million viewers an episode and was later broadcast all over the world. The companion book, reworked from the transcripts by Milton and Rose, was eventually translated into 17 languages and became the bestseller for nonfiction in the U.S. that year.

Mr. Chitester found Milton Friedman more receptive to the idea of a TV series than Rose, who thought television was a waste of time. Milton had appeared on Dinah Shore’s talk show alongside journalist Shana Alexander and comedian Phyllis Diller. These were the Jimmy Carter years, and Shore asked him how an average investor could protect his money in a time of rising inflation. Friedman’s advice was succinct: “Spend it.” He later told Mr. Chitester that appearance brought him more mail than he’d ever received.

“Free to choose” made Friedman an even bigger hit. “By the fifth program Milton might see what was going on,” Mr. Chitester says. “He told me, ‘Bob, people are calling me from all over the world asking me to invest their money.’ ” The Friedmans had to change their phone number and relist it under Rose’s maiden name.

One key to the appeal of the series is that it features Milton speaking on location all across the world to make his points—whether talking to an Indian carpet weaver or in West Berlin to contrast the liberty and prosperity there with the squalor on the communist side of the wall. That “helped motivate Milton,” Mr. Chitester says, because he thrived on human engagement. Even more remarkable, Mr. Chitester confirms everything was completely unscripted.

It helped that Friedman was quick on his feet: “With regard to the extemporaneous, he was considered one of the most effective and daunting debaters within the economist community. No one wanted to debate Milton face-to-face.”

Friedman’s and Mr. Chitester’s confidence in free markets was finally tempered by China. All through “Free to Choose,” the film had promoted economic freedom as the doorway to personal and political freedom. If China liberalized the economic sphere, Friedman believed private and political freedom would result—a common view within the 1990s.

Close to the tip of Friedman’s life, Mr. Chitester says, Friedman acknowledged the error. “Bob,” Mr. Chitester quotes him, “I ignored one fact. You have to have rule of law or my formula won’t work.” Mr. Chitester adds his own caveat: China also demonstrates you possibly can have economic well-being without happiness.

Though “Free to Choose” was his first production, Mr. Chitester never stopped looking for ways to spread the free-market message. He founded the Free to Choose Network, a public foundation that produces public television shows and series—and on whose web site you can still watch “Free to Choose.” He started izzit.org, a network that gives 300,000 educators access to teaching videos and a daily current-events service.

He also created a nightly half-hour program, “Issues USA,” whose alumni include Fox’s David Asman, ABC’s Jonathan Karl and National Review’s Rich Lowry. And he launched The Idea Channel, a video library of more than 200 recorded intellectual discussions with leading intellectuals including Nobel laureates such as Friedrich Hayek and James Buchanan (Economics), Charles Towns (Physics) and agronomist Norman Borlaug (Peace), father of the Green Revolution.

But after a lifetime of promoting human freedom, Mr. Chitester is not altogether optimistic about its future. In the previous few years of Friedman’s life, he says, the two would talk about how government keeps growing even though people were still saying capitalism won when the Berlin Wall came down. There’s a stubborn human craving for egalitarianism, and our politics allows the indulgence of envy. “In a free society,” Mr. Chitester says, “the vote says if enough of you want to take money from somebody else to give to yourself, you can do it. All you have to do is vote for those politicians who say we’ll do it.”

Looking at this year’s election. Donald Trump has pushed deregulation and tax cuts, but also tariffs, price controls for drugs, and preferences for industries such as manufacturing. “Voting for Trump for me is ‘hold your nostril and vote,’ ” Mr. Chitester says—but that’s better than voting for a party whose platform was written with Mr. Sanders’s help. “I try to explain to people that they must somehow overcome their dislike for the person and understand and evaluate what the two parties represent in terms of policy.”

He also says it would be harder for some young freedom-lover could [sic; should be ‘to’] pull off today what he did 40 years ago [ie, as a producer of a TV series] with “Free to Choose.” True, the internet and social media offer endless opportunities to get a message out. But they come with a highly fragmented audience. “PBS at that time was the also-ran channel in terms of viewership, but nonetheless we reached an estimated 14 million folks with ‘Free to Choose,’ ’’ he says. “Today on PBS we’re lucky if we reach 700,000 folks.”

The cultural environment, he believes, is also more treacherous. Mr. Chitester agrees with Adam Smith that freedom depends crucially on individuals’ personal discipline, which religion often helps supply. Though he calls himself an agnostic (as did the Friedmans), he says he’s troubled by attacks on religion and the freedom to practice it.

Another lament: “We no longer teach aphorisms.” He notes Friedman’s favourite poem was Kiplings’s “Gods of the Copybook Headings,” about those that would sum up timeless truths by expressing them in pithy maxims. “We look upon these as superficial and meaningless,” Mr. Chitester says. “Yet you and I know that ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’ is far more  than a superficial statement. Combine that with compound interest, and you can easily retire as a millionaire in the United States.”

Still, it’s not in his nature to give up. And he offers two suggestions for those dreaming about doing what he did.

“First,” he says, “you have to be a storyteller. Think of the people that have had meteoric rises to celebrity. They’ve been excellent storytellers. Free-market preachers if you’ll.”

The second has to do with the Winnie the Pooh necktie he wore Wednesday when he collected an honorary doctorate from Northwood College, Mich. Like many conservatives and libertarians, he used to wear Adam Smith ties. However his granddaughter, a fan of the fictional bear, loved a Winnie the Pooh tie he’d picked up after spotting it [in] an airport. He made it his trademark—not solely to please the girl but as a matter of strategic communication.

“I put on the Winnie the Pooh tie to hopefully get people to think at the least initially that I’m a nice person,” he says. “Because if they don’t think I’m a nice person, there’s nothing on the face of the earth I can do that will likely persuade them to listen to what I have to say.”

Mr. McGurn is a Journal columnist and member of the editorial board.
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